Placerita Junior High

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Academic Development

Academic Information

With the Academic Information handout, you can familiarize yourself with graduation requirements, calculating grade point average, along with California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) admission requirements.  Get equipped early, starting in junior high!
 
Academic Success Strategies:
 

Work Completion:

  1. Attend school regularly.
  2. Use the Placerita Student Planner daily
  3. Complete homework the night it is assigned.
  4. Seek help from teachers…..they are not scary!!
  5. Keep completed homework in one area of the binder or use a separate homework folder.

Organization:

  1. Use the Placerita Student Planner daily.
  2. Clean out and organize backpack and binders weekly.
  3. Bring all materials to class daily (avoid “A” and “B” day binders).
  4. Keep completed homework in one area of the binder or use a separate homework folder.
  5. Create and follow an after school schedule.

Communication:

  1. Check Infinite Campus often.
  2. Check teachers’ websites.
  3. Email teachers directly for concerns or questions.
 

The Daily Planner

The Student Planner helps keep the communication between home and school open.  In an effort to empower the students we ask that your child communicates with you using the Student Planner.  Each day in class your child writes the HW in the planner and the teacher stamps or signs it, verifying that your child copied the homework correctly.  We ask that the parents use the planner in keeping track of assignments due and upcoming test dates.  Each night your child should pull his planner out and his completed homework and show it to an adult at home.

How do I know what my child’s homework is?

Please review the planner with your student because the first few pages contain important information about the school.  The rest of the pages are to be used by your child daily.  In all academic classes, the teacher will ask your child to take out the student planner to write down that night's homework.   If there is no homework, your child should write N.H. You should check the planner nightly to make sure that your child is completing all of the homework.

Important Tips for the Planner:

Planners can be initialed or stamped (if requested by student) confirming that the student has correctly copied it from the board. Check your child’s planner to verify teacher signature/stamp. If the signature/stamp is missing, ask your child.

If your child’s response is no homework, it will be marked "NO HOMEWORK" in their planner. It is our policy to write on our agenda board "NO HOMEWORK" if there is none.

Never accept "no" without asking to see the planner. If they said they “already did it”, ask to see the work.

 

Homework Completion

Find a regular place at home for your child to do homework—a desk in his or her room is ideal, but the kitchen table will do.

Make sure the work area has ample lighting, a minimum of noise, and a place for books and supplies.

Eliminate distractions during study time.  Turn off the TV and have snacks before the homework begins.  Ask brothers or sisters to respect this time.

Establish mandatory homework time.  This entire time (one to two hours) should be spent doing homework or school related activities (reading, reviewing notes, etc.)  But also allow for some free time.

Show an interest in your child’s homework.  Check his/her daily planner, ask about subjects and the work to be done, then follow up to see that it was done. 

Try to relate the homework to the child’s everyday life.  For instance, if fractions and measurements are being studied, have the child prepare a favorite food using the differing measurements.

Coach your child with an unknown word or difficult problem, but don’t actually do the homework; children must do homework themselves in order to learn.

Praise your child for successfully completing homework assignments.  Nothing builds self-esteem like praise from parents.

Carefully observe how your child is studying at home.  Share your insights with his or her teacher in parent-teacher meetings.

If a child strongly dislikes or has trouble completing homework, find out why.

 
Learning Styles:
 

We all learn differently. A student’s learning style refers to the preferred method in which he/she absorbs, processes, understands and retains information. Each of us has a specific learning style and we learn best when information is presented to us in this style. Below are a few resources to help identify and learn about your preferred learning style.

 

Take a learning styles assessment:  https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/

 

 

Preparing to Study

You need a good study place to be prepared to study. You should be able to answer YES to all of the following questions:

Is my Study Place available to me whenever I need it?

Your Study Place does you little good if you cannot use it when you need it. If you are using a Study Place that you must share with others for any reason, work out a schedule so that you know when you can use it.

Is my Study Place free from interruptions?

It is important to have uninterrupted study time. You may have to hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door or take the phone off the hook.

Is my Study Place free from distractions?

Research shows that most students study best in a quiet environment. If you find that listening to music or TV improves your mood, keep the volume low.

Does my Study Place contain all the study materials I need?

Be sure your Study Place includes supplies such as pens and pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, and whatever else you might need. If you use a computer for your schoolwork, it should be in your Study Place.

Does my Study Space contain a large enough desk or table?

While working on an assignment or studying for a test, use a desk or table that is large enough to hold everything you need. Allow enough room for writing and try to avoid clutter.

Does my Study Place have enough storage space?

You need enough room to store your study materials. Be sure you have enough storage space to allow you to keep your desktop or other work surface clear of unnecessary materials that can get in the way.

Does my Study Place have a comfortable chair?

A chair that is not comfortable can cause discomfort or pain that will interfere with your studying. A chair that is too comfortable might make you sleepy. Select a chair in which you can sit for long periods while maintaining your attention.

Does my Study Place have enough light?

The amount of light you need depends on what you are doing. The important thing is that you can clearly see what you need to see without any strain or discomfort.

Does my Study Place have a comfortable temperature?

If your Study Place is too warm, you might become sleepy. If it is too cold, your thinking may slow down and become unclear. Select a temperature at which your mind and body function best.

Having a good Study Place is important for good studying.

 

Procrastination

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is putting off or avoiding doing something that must be done. It is natural to procrastinate occasionally. However, excessive procrastination can result in guilt feelings about not doing a task when it should be done. It can also cause anxiety since the task still needs to be done. Further, excessive procrastination can cause poor performance if the task is completed without sufficient time to do it well. In short, excessive procrastination can interfere with school and personal success.


Why Do Students Procrastinate?

There are many reasons why students procrastinate. Here are the most common reasons:


Perfectionism. A student’s standard of performance may be so high for a task that it does not seem possible to meet that standard.

Fear of Failure. A student may lack confidence and fear that he/she will be unable to accomplish a task successfully.

Confusion. A student may be unsure about how to start a task or how it should be completed.

Task Difficulty. A student may lack the skills and abilities needed to accomplish a task.

Poor Motivation. A student may have little or no interest in completing a task because he/she finds the task boring or lacking in relevance.

Difficulty Concentrating. A student may have too many things around that distract him/her from doing a task.

Task Unpleasantness. A student may dislike doing what a task requires.

Lack of Priorities. A student may have little or no sense about which tasks are most important to do.

 

How Do I Know if I Procrastinate Excessively?

You procrastinate excessively if you agree with five or more of the following statements:

1. I often put off starting a task I find difficult

2. I often give up on a task as soon as I start to find it difficult.

3. I often wonder why I should be doing a task.

4. I often have difficulty getting started on a task.

5. I often try to do so many tasks at once that I cannot do any of them.

6. I often put off a task in which I have little or no interest.

7. I often try to come up with reasons to do something other than a task I have to do.

8. I often ignore a task when I am not certain about how to start it or complete it.

9. I often start a task but stop before completing it.

10. I often find myself thinking that if I ignore a task, it will go away.

11. I often cannot decide which of a number of tasks I should complete first.

12. I often find my mind wandering to things other that the task on which I am trying to work.


What Can I Do About Excessive Procrastination?

Here are some things you can do to control excessive procrastination.

1. Motivate yourself to work on a task with thoughts such as “There is no time like the present,” or “Nobody’s perfect.”

2. Prioritize the tasks you have to do.

3. Commit yourself to completing a task once started.

4. Reward yourself whenever you complete a task.

5. Work on tasks at the times you work best.

6. Break large tasks into small manageable parts.

7. Work on tasks as part of a study group.

8. Get help from teachers and other students when you find a task difficult.

9. Make a schedule of the tasks you have to do and stick to it.

10. Eliminate distractions that interfere with working on tasks.

11. Set reasonable standards that you can meet for a task.

12. Take breaks when working on a task so that you don’t wear down.                                                           

13. Work on difficult and/or unpleasant tasks first.

14. Work on a task you find easier after you complete a difficult task.

15. Find a good place to work on tasks.


Above all, think positively and get going. Once you are into a task, you will probably find that it is more interesting than you thought it would be and not as difficult as you feared. You will feel increasingly relieved as you work toward its accomplishment and will come to look forward to the feeling of satisfaction you will experience when you have completed the task.

Test Anxiety

What is Test Anxiety?

Too much anxiety about a test is commonly referred to as test anxiety. It is perfectly natural to feel some anxiety when preparing for and taking a test.  In fact, a little anxiety can jump start your child studying and keep them motivated.  However, too much anxiety can interfere with their studying. They may have difficulty learning and remembering what you need to know for the test.  Further, too much anxiety may block their performance during the test. They may have difficulty demonstrating what they know during the test.

 

How do I Know if I Have Test Anxiety?

Your child probably has test anxiety if they answer YES to four or more of the following:

1. I have a hard time getting started studying for a test.

2. When studying for a test, I find many things that distract me.

3. I expect to do poorly on a test no matter how much or how hard I study.

4. When taking a test, I experience physical discomfort such as sweaty palms, an upset stomach, a headache, difficulty breathing, and tension in my muscles.

5. When taking a test, I find it difficult to understand the directions and questions.

6. When taking a test, I have difficulty organizing my thoughts.

7. When taking a test, I often “draw a blank.”

8. When taking a test, I find my mind wandering to other things.

9. I usually score lower on a test than I do on assignments and papers.

10. After a test, I remember information I couldn’t recall during the test.

What Can I Do About Test Anxiety?

Here are some things you can do before, during, and after a test to reduce your test anxiety.

1. Use good study techniques to gain cognitive mastery of the material that will be covered on the test.  This mastery will help your child to approach the test with confidence rather than have excessive anxiety. 

2. Maintain a positive attitude as your child studies.  Think about doing well, not failing.  Think of the test as an opportunity to show how much your child has learned.

3. Make sure your child goes into the test well rested and well fed.  Have your child get enough sleep the night before the test.  They should eat a light and nutritious meal before the test and stay away from junk foods.

4. Encourage your child to stay relaxed during the test.  Taking slow, deep breaths can help.  Have your child focus on positive self-statements such as “I can do this.”

5. Encourage your child not to panic even if they find the test difficult.   Make sure they stay with their plan!

6. Tell your child not to  worry about other students finishing the test before they do.  Make sure they take the time that they need to do their best. 

7. Once your child finishes the test and hand it in, forget about it temporarily.  There is nothing more they can do until the graded test is returned.  Turn their attention and effort to new assignments and tests.

8. When the graded test is returned, analyze it with your child to see how they could have done better.  Learn from mistakes and from what they did well. Apply this knowledge when they take the next test.

You have to know the material to do well on a test.  You have to control test anxiety to show what you know.

Test Preparation

To help children prepare adequately for tests (whether teacher-made or standardized), you can do several things to provide support and create a positive test-taking experience.

1. The best way to prepare for tests is to study, know the work, and take the right courses. Encourage your child to study over a period of time rather than "cram" the night before.  

2. If your child is nervous at test time, ask her teacher for tips on helping her relax.

3. Make sure that your child is in school during the testing sessions. Do not plan any doctor or dental appointments on test dates.

4. Make sure that you are aware of your child's performance and that you can help interpret the results when they become available.

5. Remember to keep well-informed about your child's tests. Know how test results are used, and how they will affect your child's placement in school.

6. If there are major differences between standardized test scores and school grades, find out why.

7. Encourage your child to listen carefully to all test-taking directions given by the teacher and to ask questions about any directions that are unclear.

8. See that your child gets his/her regular amount of sleep before the tests and is well-rested.

9. Make sure that your child eats his/her usual breakfast on the day of the test. Hunger can detract from a good test performance.

10. Encourage your child to do his/her best.

Source: American School Counselor Association

Credits

The counselors have shared with your child how credits are earned or lost. Please ask your student to explain this information to you.

If students pass all six classes with a D- or higher at the end of the quarter, they will earn 2.5 credits per class for a total of 15 credits per quarter. They have the opportunity of earning a total of 60 credits in 7th grade and 60 credits in the 8th grade. If a class is failed, the credits are lost.

To be eligible for the eighth grade promotion requirements, and the end of year activities, a minimum of 107.5 credits must be accumulated. It is important that students do their best in each class as it will help prepare them for passing the exit exam required at the end of high school.

In addition, the students must have demonstrated acceptable citizenship, behavior and attendance. Failure to meet the citizenship, behavior, and attendance standards may result in the denial of the privilege of participation in the end of the year activities.

For students to successfully pass classes, attendance is a must! Please insist that your child attend school daily unless he or she is genuinely ill. Since homework is an integral part of the grade in each class, it is important that a student contact the teacher for missing assignments and do the make-up work for each class when he or she is absent.

If your son/daughter is having difficulty academically, socially, or personally, please encourage them to talk with their counselor. If there is a family crisis that would possibly affect your child at school, please give us a call at (661) 259-1511.

It is our hope that the credit presentation motivates your child to maintain sound academic habits that include completing homework, reviewing for tests and seeking extra help when needed. If you feel your child needs academic intervention, please contact the counseling office. 

We appreciate your concern and support. Working together as a team we can make a difference in your child’s educational experience.